- Associated Press - Thursday, April 26, 2018

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - The Missouri Republican Party is seeking to remove four candidates from the primary ballot, including two congressional challengers, arguing that they aren’t really members of the GOP.

The party filed a formal request Tuesday with the secretary of state’s office to remove Jim Evans, Noga Sachs, Scott Van Meter and Leonard Hughes. The party also said it’s refunding their filing fees. In Missouri, candidates cannot file with the secretary of state’s office without a paid receipt from a political party, according to Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft’s office.

Evans, a retired teacher and U.S. Army veteran, is challenging U.S. Reps. Billy Long for his seat in the southwest part of the state, while Sachs, a motivational consultant, is vying for U.S. Rep. Ann Wagner’s seat outside St. Louis. Van Meter is seeking a state senate seat in northwest Missouri and Hughes is vying for a state senate seat in the Kansas City area.

The GOP cited a 2006 case in which Democrats ousted white supremacist Frazier Glenn Miller from a congressional ticket. Miller later was convicted of a 2014 shooting that killed three people at two Jewish sites in Kansas.

Evans, who has expressed support for a single-payer health care system, told the Springfield News-Leader he was raised by conservatives and was previously a Republican. He ran as a Democrat against Long in 2012 and 2014.

“I grew up Republican and I am returning to my roots,” Evans said. As for the refund, “I am not cashing my check,” he said. “I guess if they follow through and kick me off the ballot, I’ll have to sue to get back on.”

Sachs said in a tweet that Wagner “just threw a tantrum to remove her only competition from the ballot.”

Van Meter, the five-term Buchanan County Assessor, is a lifelong Democrat and told KQTV previously that filing as a Republican for a state senate seat was just part of the natural evolution of his politics.

Citing ongoing litigation, Ashcroft’s office declined to publicly comment on the issue of a political party refusing or refunding a filing fee as a means to remove a candidate from the ballot.

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